Car keys coming through a computer monitor

How to Buy a Used Car Online

With the Internet almost anything is possible; you can even buy a car online. In fact, buying used vehicles online is a common and more simple process than you might think. Just follow the steps below for finding your next used car if shopping online is the preferable way to go.

Find a search engine.  

The first step to buying a used car online is to begin with the right search engines. The majority of dealerships offer online services for buying used from their website. Offers can be negotiated over live chats or e-mails. A second option is searching for your used car from a third-party search engine such as, Auto Trader, or even Craigslist.

Narrow your search.

Once you have found the right search engine, be very specific about the kind of car you would like. The majority of sites will allow you to search for specific criteria such as make, model, color, mileage, interior, and distance from your location. Once you find a car, try to look on at least two websites to compare their prices and reviews.

Ask the right questions.

After you have found a car you like, you should make sure to closely examine the vehicle’s history report. Because you are buying used, the report is essential before making a final decision. If you are buying used from a dealer, the dealership should be able to provide the report. However, if you are purchasing from an individual, make sure to ask for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) so you can obtain the history of the vehicle yourself.

Next, inquire whether or not the car will need any additional work. Because you are buying online and have not seen the car in person, it may not be a bad idea to ask if the car can be examined by a neutral third party such as a mechanic before finalizing your purchase.

Negotiate the price.

If you have decided on purchasing the vehicle, the last step is to get it for the right price. When it comes to negotiating, it can be helpful to use other search engines to locate the same car. This is because if the vehicle is advertised at a lower price on another website, you can use this to your advantage when negotiating.

Find a car shipping service.

If your used car is out of state and it will have to be shipped to you, you will need to find a car shipping service. The service will transport your car to you. A good company to use when looking for a shipping service is the Car Shipping Network. This site allows you to find the right company that will meet all of your shipping needs.

You will be responsible for providing an address for where the car needs to be picked up and delivered, as well as any other arrangements that need to be made. More than likely, a deposit and authorization to ship the car will be required of you as well. After arrangements have been made with the shipper, they will handle the rest of the arrangements, such as when to pick up the car from the seller and deliver it to you. 

Last Updated: October 18, 2017